Your midwife will discuss your choices for the place of birth with you at your antenatal appointments. Women labour more effectively in an environment where they feel relaxed and comfortable. For some women, the most comfortable and relaxing place will be in their own home. If you choose to have your baby at home, a community midwife will come and care for you during your labour. Your midwife will listen to your baby’s heart beat regularly, as well as monitoring your well-being. A second midwife will also attend for the birth. Your midwife will stay with you for at least two hours after you have given birth.
Planning for a Home Birth
If you have a straight forward pregnancy, and you and your baby are healthy you may choose to give birth at home.
If you have a more complicated pregnancy you can still have a home birth, however your midwife will arrange for you to have an appointment with your consultant to discuss a home birth.
A community midwife will arrange to visit you at home at some point in your pregnancy to discuss your home birth with you and your birth partner, complete the home birth form and arrange for you to collect a home birth box.
You can give birth at home from 37 weeks of pregnancy.
You will be supported by two community midwives during your home birth.
Community midwives can provide entonox (gas and air) for you to use during your labour if required.
If you would like to use a birthing pool you can arrange to hire and set this up yourself. If you choose to hire your own birthing pool, our midwives are experienced at caring for women planning a water birth. Ensure you have read the instructions and have the means to fill it up prior to the birth. You may need a new, clean hose to fill and empty it.
You may also wish to consider the use of acupuncture, aromatherapy, hypnotherapy or a TENS machine; however you would need to arrange these yourself. You can use gas and air (Entonox) at home for pain relief and the midwives will bring this with them.
You need to provide very little for a home birth as almost all equipment is brought by the midwives apart from towels etc. Your midwife will visit you at home towards the end of your pregnancy to discuss plans for your home birth in detail. However, the following list may be useful:
- A bag packed with essentials in case of transfer to hospital (nothing worse than needing to go running around trying to find stuff).
- You may want a covering to protect your floor depending on choice of where to give birth.
- Clean towels for welcoming baby and for the midwives to use for hand washing.
Have you informed the midwives of any parking arrangements for your home?
Once in labour contact the hospital providing your care, who will arrange for the midwife to contact you.